Sometimes when I would come up from working underground my face would be covered with oil from the drill. It was on my arms and especially on my hands. I would take a bar of soap with sand in it and scrub to get that oil off. Sometimes no matter how hard I scrubbed my hands there was still oil. The stain was still in the cracks of my hand. It didn’t matter how much I wanted to. I could not get clean.
There was a man in a similar predicament, not with the stain of oil or other substances, but with a disease. A disease of the skin called leprosy. In Luke Chapter 5 we read:
On another occasion, Jesus was in one of the towns, and there was a man full of leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
That man had the disease of leprosy in his skin and it made him ceremonially unclean. That meant he couldn’t live with his family. He couldn’t come into the temple and worship God. He had to live outside in the leper colony. Everywhere he went he had to cry out “Unclean! Unclean!” What a pitiful way to live.
So he came to Jesus. “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Luke records for us that
Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean.”
Jesus clearly demonstrated his love and concern for this man. He reached out and took away the disease of leprosy so that the man was clean.
There’s something else that stains us. Something we might try and scrub away something we might try to just forget about. Our sins. They can trouble this in the middle of the night. They can weigh us down through the day as we remember the guilt that we have. Who will make us clean? Who can wash away our past misdeeds? We can fall before Jesus. “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
And Jesus stretched out his arms. Stretched them out on the cross to pay for all of those sins. And he poured out his blood so that all of your sins are washed away. Jesus says to you from the cross “I am willing, be clean.”
No matter how great your sins are Jesus blood purifies us from all sin. He is willing, be clean. Amen.